For many fans, 2015 was a very prosperous year for the Hallyu or Korean Wave (increase of Korean entertainment and culture outside of Korea). Though most concentrated on the resurgence of K-pop after it went through a hellish 2014 known as the “Kpopcalypse,” fans of Korean film also saw a resurgence. Throughout last year, more than 10 K-dramas dominated with double-digit percentage ratings in Seoul, nationally across South Korea, and even internationally through streaming sites. Pinocchio, Producer, She Was Pretty, Punch, Mask, and Yong Pal are just some of the successful K-dramas on the list. Looks like 2016 has a lot to live up to.
Apparently, 2016 is starting out well for K-dramas,as a drama has now finished with double-digit percentage ratings. Reply 1988 (also known as Answer Me 1988) ended favorably on Saturday, January 16, 2016 heralded in when Hyeri and Park Bo Gum kissed in the drama’s penultimate episode.
For those who are unfamiliar with the K-drama, according to they plot synopsis provided by AsianWiki, Reply 1988 is about five young adult friends. They, along with their families who are close to each other too, grew up in the same neighborhood. Despite being different, each of the young adults and their families are in a different situation. Duk Sun (Hyeri) and her family are poor and live in a semi-basement house. Jung Hwan (Ryoo Joon Yeol) and his family were blessed in becoming rich overnight. Sun Woo (Ko Gyung Pyo) is a model student. He is a good son to his mom and good brother to his sister. His father passed away. Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi) is the dancer who likes to hang out with his friends. He gave up going to a university because of his poor academic score. Finally, Taek (Park Bo Gum) is a famous go player known as “God.”
Reply 1988 is popular in Korea because it remakes Korean classics for its OST, but more importantly, utilizes the “mystery husband” theme. What that means is nobody knows who the lone female lead character will end up with because there are numerous male leads that get equal attention throughout the drama. To be frank, Reply 1988 was destined to be popular because it is technically the predecessor to two other K-dramas that found success with the same theme, Reply 1997 and Reply 1994.
The “mystery husband” theme seems to have worked very well for Reply 1988 too as shown by the average audience share ratings for both AGB and TNmS. Starting out with an average 6.25 percent in its first episode titled “Hand in Hand” back in November 6, 2016, they increased over the course of 20 episodes ending with an average of 18.6 percent. It should also be noted that Reply 1988 aired on KBS2, the premier pay channel tvN. It is rare a show viewers had to pay to watch did better than shows on public broadcast (free) channels like KBS, SBS, MBC, or EBS.
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The reason why the final episode ended on such a high percentage has to do with what happened in the penultimate episode. According to KdramaStars, director Shin Won Ho had scenes from previous episodes showing Duk Sun and Taek together. This was to review audiences the foreshadowing of their blossoming romance, which lead to their kiss. However, a flash-forward scene of a couple in 2016 reveals their first kiss was in 1989, but then they retracted their statement because Duk Sun was still young. They then say they kissed in 1994. That along with other kiss sequences, that may or may not have happened, set up the finale. Did Duk Sun and Taek end up together or did the other love line of Duk Sun and Jung Hwan make it?
Reply 1988 is officially over and its time slot will be filled in by upcoming K-drama Signal. However, all episodes can be viewed for free (with ads) at DramaFever (going by its other title Answer Me 1988).
[Image via tvN Promotions for Reply 1988]